Many employers actively block Facebook on their office network to prevent employees from getting sucked into the fearful time sink and disrupting the space-time continuum of the office. Fortunately, a new application has emerged that allows people to access Facebook without anybody being the wiser that you are social networking instead of working on some documents.
The application called ExcellBook is dressed up to look like an Excel worksheet allowing you to inconspicuously connect to your Facebook account and post updates, read messages, chat with friends, like comments, and all. To the outside word it appears as if you are busy working on a spreadsheet.
Once you have logged into Facebook through the application (click File > Log in) all your Facebook status updates and messages from your friends display within the columns and you can even switch between the wall, chat and the news feed. It’s not the full Facebook experience but you can do simple things like update your status and reply to friends from within the spreadsheet. You can also click on the links which will open up in your browser.
While this sounds good to read, the application ExcellBook bears only a passing resemblance to Microsoft Excel’s interface – enough to fool a worker from fifteen feet, but get any closer and you are screwed.
The application is designed in Adobe AIR and the entire frame including the toolbar and menus are non-functional dummies. They could have made an exact replica of Excel, but the developers chose to go for a custom interface, perhaps to stay clear of the path of Microsoft’s lawyers.
In any case, I’m really glad somebody came up with this program. My previous piece on how to play games and surf at work yet look busy was incomplete without Facebook.